TV guide: 10 of the best shows to watch this weekend

Dancing with the Stars returns for a third series, while Resistance dramatises the War of Independence

Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne on Dancing with the Stars

Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne on Dancing with the Stars

 

Can’t Stop Dancing
Friday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Blathnaid Tracey, host of Can’t Stop Dancing
Blathnaid Tracey, host of Can’t Stop Dancing

If the main show isn’t enough for dancing fans, Friday night on RTÉ One will feature this preview show for Dancing with the Stars hosted by Bláthnaid Treacy. Every week Can’t Stop Dancing will go behind the scenes as Treacy gets the lowdown from the judges, the professional dancers and the stars. It is, we are promised, a “one-stop shop for getting all your Dancing with the Stars gossip”.

Big Fat Quiz of Everything
Friday, Channel 4, 9pm
Which film was released in Poland as Electronic Murderer? Who is Digger The Crab? And what was Pierce Brosnan banned from doing while he played James Bond? These questions and many others will be answered in this year’s edition of the super-sized quiz that takes in over 100,000 years of human history. Question master Jimmy Carr is joined by Great British Bake Off host Sandi Toksvig, rapper and MC Big Narstie, and comedians Joe Lycett, Katherine Ryan, David Baddiel and Frank Skinner.

Top of the Pops: The Story of 1987
Friday, BBC4, 9pm

Tops of the pops in 1987
Tops of the pops in 1987

TOTP repeats have long been one of BBC Four’s greatest assets. This edition looks at the year Margaret Thatcher secured a third term as prime minister, the Channel Tunnel began construction and Britain was battered by the great storm. Meanwhile, Stock, Aitken and Waterman, hip-hop, rap and house dominated the 1987 charts. The talking heads are Terence Trent D’Arby, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Rick Astley, Kim Appleby, Andy Bell, Carol Decker and Belinda Carlisle.

Graham Norton’s Good Story Guide
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
The host goes behind the scenes of his chat show to reveal the secrets of telling a good story, picking up advice and insight from Rob Brydon and Miriam Margolyes.

The Greatest Dancer
Saturday, BBC1, 8pm

The Greatest Dancer
The Greatest Dancer

Typical: You wait ages for one dance competition to end, then another two come along at the same time. The Beeb hopes that Strictly Come Dancing will inspire loads of viewers to put on their dancing shoes and strut their stuff in this X Factor for amateur movers and shakers. Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo host this battle on the dancefloor, but there’s no judging panel in this contest – the participants will have to dance in front of a mirror, and the audience gets to decide if the mirror is turned and the dancer gets through to the next stage. So it’s more like The Voice for feet. These hoofing hopefuls will be helped by celebrity captains Cheryl Cole, Matthew Morrison and Oti Mabuse.

The Voice UK
Saturday, Virgin One, 8pm
The singing contest returns for an eighth series, with Emma Willis as host and judges Olly Murs, Sir Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am taking a seat in the series’ trademark spinning red chairs. Contestants stand to win a recording contract with Polydor if they can impress the panel. The show gets under way with the blind auditions, as the judges listen to each contestant with their backs turned, ensuring that they assess the performance on the strength of vocal ability alone.

Dancing on Ice
Sunday, Virgin One, 6pm
Legendary skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean return to judge the latest series of Dancing on Ice. Of course, we’re not expecting the novice skaters to be up to their Olympic standards, but will any of the celebs (including Strictly pro James Jordan, ex-Westlife member Brian McFadden, Coronation Street’s Jane Danson, Grease star Didi Conn, Loose Woman Saira Khan, and, in a possible nod to the 2018 Strictly line-up, a former Pussycat Doll and an England cricketer, aka Melody Thornton and Ryan Sidebottom) prove to be naturals?

Dancing With the Stars
Sunday, RTÉ1, 6.30pm
Dance-off No 3 this weekend is of course RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, which sees another crew of homegrown celebs take on the challenge of trying to match the standards set by its older UK sibling, Strictly. There’s a big change-up this year as presenter Amanda Byram is replaced by Jennifer Zamparelli, aka Bridget from Bridget & Eamon. She’ll be leaving the big hair to the contestants, who this year include presenters Darren Kennedy and Maireád Ronan, actors Clelia Murphy, Eilish O’Carroll, Johnny Ward and Demi Isaac Oviawe; former All-Ireland footballer Denis Bastick and former Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer; country singer Cliona Hagen; and model and former Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter.

Resistance
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Simone Kirby and Natasha OKeeffe in Resistance
Simone Kirby and Natasha OKeeffe in Resistance

Four years after the Rising and Ireland is in the throes of the War of Independence in this new drama from the makers of Rebellion. Brian Gleeson returns as Jimmy Mahon, now a hit man for Michael Collins, while his brother Patrick (David Wilmot) is an RIC officer. They’re not the only siblings on opposing sides: cryptologist Ursula Sweeney (Simone Kirby) is cracking codes in Dublin Castle while her estranged sister Agnes Moore (Natasha O’Keeffe) is a legal eagle working for Sinn Féin. There’s lots of espionage, double-crossing and covert operations in this fast-paced thriller, as the rebels plot to take out the British forces in Dublin Castle.

Manhunt
Sunday, UTV, 9pm/Monday, Virgin One, 9pm

Martin Clunes in Manhunt
Martin Clunes in Manhunt

Martin Clunes put aside his Doc Martin role to tackle an altogether weightier role: the real-life detective who investigated the horrific murder of French student Amelie Delagrange on Twickenham Green in 2004. Clunes plays DCI Colin Sutton, whose painstaking investigation uncovered links with two other unsolved murders – those of Marsha McDonnell in 2003 and Milly Dowler in 2002. This three-part drama runs over three consecutive nights, as Sutton and his team closes in on the suspected serial killer Levi Bellfield.

Semi-Detached
Sunday, BBC2, 10pm
Just before Christmas Lee Mack starred in a live broadcast of Not Going Out, and now he is taking part in another sitcom experiment. The promising pilot plays out in real time, starring Mack as a man enduring the worst 20 minutes of his life. When his girlfriend goes into labour, Stuart is forced to rely on his ex-wife to help get her to hospital – but he also has to contend with his promiscuous father, estranged brother and a naked neighbour who has had an accident with a circular saw.

Additional reporting: PA

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